Lyme disease diagnoses increased 357 percent in rural areas in the last 15 years, according to private insurance claims

Newswise—NEW YORK, NY—August 2, 2022—Lyme disease has experienced remarkable growth in the United States over the past 15 years and has become a disease of growing national concern as a result. From 2007 to 2021, private insurance claims lines with Lyme disease diagnoses increased 357% in rural areas and 65% in urban areas. These and other findings about this tick-borne bacterial disease were captured in an infographic just released by FAIR Health. The national, independent organization used its database of more than 36 billion privately billed health care claims to conduct its 15-year analysis of Lyme disease; This analysis is based on a previous infographic FAIR Health who studied 10 years of Lyme disease data. Click here for the infographic published today.

Rural and urban differences

The infographic reveals key differences in the prevalence of Lyme disease when comparing rural and urban areas. From 2016 to 2021, claims lines with Lyme disease diagnoses increased 60% in rural areas and 19% in urban areas, with diagnoses peaking nationally in June and July each year . During these summer months, rural areas, on average, had a higher proportion of claim lines associated with Lyme disease diagnoses than urban areas. However, from November through April, claim lines with Lyme disease diagnoses occurred more frequently in urban areas than in rural areas.

Geographical distribution

In 2017, the states with the highest proportion of claim lines with Lyme disease diagnoses as a percentage of all diagnoses in the state, from highest to lowest, were New Jersey, Connecticut, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Since Lyme disease has historically been associated with the Northeast and Upper Midwest, the state of North Carolina as the state with the third-highest percentage of Lyme disease claim lines in 2017 suggested a marked expansion to a new region. However, by 2021, North Carolina had disappeared from the list.

The top states in 2021, from largest to smallest, were New Jersey, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Maine, previously not in the top five states for Lyme disease hotlines, has taken over the third spot in 2021, suggesting a growing presence of the tick-borne disease in the state. Connecticut and Vermont traded places, with Vermont emerging as number two and Connecticut falling to number five.

Post diagnostics

Although Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, some Lyme patients later develop conditions with long-term symptoms, such as fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and cognitive problems. Such conditions have been linked to post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, sometimes called chronic Lyme disease.

To identify subsequent diagnoses associated with Lyme disease, FAIR Health examined a statistically significant cohort of people in its private insurance claims database from 2017 to 2021, comparing the prevalence of certain diagnoses among Lyme patients with all patients. of the cohort. The analysis found that diagnoses such as malaise and fatigue and soft-tissue-related problems were more common among Lyme patients than the overall patient population. Across all age groups, Lyme disease patients were generally more likely to have these apparently associated diagnoses than all patients in the cohort.

FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd stated, “Lyme disease continues to be a growing public health concern. FAIR Health will continue to use its claims data repository to provide actionable and relevant information to healthcare stakeholders seeking to better understand the continuing rise in Lyme disease cases.”

This is the third study FAIR Health has done on Lyme disease, the first to appear in a infographic released in 2017 and the second in a White paper published in 2019.

For the new infographic, click here.

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About FAIR Health

FAIR Health is a national independent nonprofit organization that qualifies as a public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code. It is dedicated to bringing transparency to health care costs and health insurance information through data products, consumer resources, and support for health systems research. FAIR Health maintains the nation’s largest collection of private health care claims data, which includes more than 36 billion claim records and is growing at a rate of more than 2 billion claim records a year. FAIR Health licenses its data and private billing data products, including benchmark modules, data visualizations, custom analytics, and market indexes, to commercial insurers and self-insurers, employers, providers, hospitals and health care systems, government agencies , researchers and others. Certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as a National Qualified Entity, FAIR Health also receives data that represents the experience of everyone enrolled in traditional Medicare Parts A, B and D; FAIR Health includes among the private claims data in its database, data on Medicare Advantage enrollees. FAIR Health may produce analytical reports and detailed data products based on combined Medicare and commercial claims data for government, providers, payers and other authorized users. FAIR Health’s systems for processing and storing protected health information have earned HITRUST CSF certification and achieved AICPA SOC 2 compliance by meeting the rigorous data security requirements of these standards. As a testament to the reliability and objectivity of FAIR Health’s data, the data has been incorporated into statutes and regulations across the country and designated as the official, neutral data source for a variety of state health programs, including compensation of workers and protection against personal injury. (PIP) programs. FAIR Health data serves as an official benchmark in support of certain state balance billing laws that protect consumers against bills for unexpected out-of-network and emergency services. FAIR Health also uses its database to power a free consumer website available in English and Spanish, which enables consumers to estimate and plan their health care expenses and offers a rich health insurance educational platform. An English/Spanish mobile app offers the same educational platform in a concise format and links to cost estimating tools. The website has been honored by the White House Summit on Smart Outreach, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), URAC, eHealthcare Leadership Awards, appPicker, Employee Benefits News Y Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. FAIR Health is also named a premier resource for patients in Dr. Marty Makary’s book. The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care and How to Fix It and the book by Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal An American Disease: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Bring It Back. For more information about FAIR Health, visit

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